Benecia Unified School District parcel tax, Measure C (November 2010)

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A Benecia Unified School District parcel tax, Measure C ballot proposition was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the Benecia Unified School District in Solano County.[1] It was defeated.

The Measure C tax would have been $58/per year/per parcel, lasting for six years.[2] That level of taxation was expected to generate about $580,000/year for the school district.

The tax would have gone into effect in July 2011.[3]

Efforts to pass a parcel tax in the Benecia School District in 2004 and 2006 were unsuccessful.[1]

Student enrollment in the district is declining.[4]

Election results

  • Yes: 7,390 (63.42%)
  • No: 4,263 (36.58%) Defeatedd

These election results are from the Solano County elections division as of November 27, 2010.

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for approval.


"Yes on C" campaign logo

A committee formed to promote a "yes" vote on Measure C. Jim Trimble, Joey Baker and Susan Sullivan led the committee.[4]

Baker said, "Measure C is about sustaining our schools. It's not going to be the 'be all and end all,' but it will help sustain funding, which is what we need desperately."[4]

The Solano County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Measure C.[4]

After Measure C was defeated, Patrick Creaven wrote a lengthy column that made the argument that "The Measure C failure was a Campaign Failure."[5] He made these specific criticisms of how the campaign was conducted:

  • On the "Yes on C" website, it was hard to find a list of where the parcel tax money would have been spent.
  • There were no campaign videos: "...this is 2010. There's no excuse anymore for a campaign not to take advantage of video. With the Internet, a halfway decent digital camera and minimal producing skills, the Yes on C campaign could have produced some dynamite campaign videos for its Web site."[5]
  • The "Yes on C" campaign signs were bad: "The first time I drove by a Yes on C campaign sign, I thought to myself, "Why is there a giant flower on a 'Support Benicia Schools' sign?" After further inspection, I realized it wasn't a flower, but was two ghostlike figures (symbolizing parents/voters), holding a smaller ghostlike figure (symbolizing students), with the smaller ghost holding an apple (symbolizing education). Look, I'm all for symbolism. But, these signs were a little weird. More importantly, if someone has to spend more than 1.7 seconds looking at a campaign sign to understand it, you've failed."[5]
  • The "Yes on C" campaign "did little, if any, door-to-door campaigning."[5]


Benecia's school board spent $30,000 on a poll of voters in the district to gauge whether the support existed to gain approval of the tax increase.[1]

Election administration costs will be $43,000 and $68,000, or about 10% of one year of the tax, if it is approved.[1]

School board member Steve Messina said, "If the tax doesn't pass, we've just spent $100,000 that we're not going to get back. That's the equivalent of one-and-a-third teachers."[1]

Path to the ballot

The first vote taken on the BUSD school board to approve putting the parcel tax measure on the November 2 ballot was passed on an invalid motion and another vote had to take place before the August 6 deadline for the measure to go on the ballot.[6]

On July 27, when the board voted 3-1 to put the parcel tax on the ballot, there was a technical error in the motion leading to the vote.[7]

See also

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

To minimize the loss of teaching positions, increases in class sizes, cuts in reading, math and other programs; and to provide students with high-quality classroom programs and student services, shall the Benecia Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual parcel tax of $58 per residence and $58 per parcel of commercial or industrial property, for 6 years with exemptions for seniors, and expenditures reviewed by a citizens' oversight committee?[8]

External links